President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (File photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to pick the next head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who will succeed outgoing police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Wala pa po. Ako naman po ang tagapag-anunsiyo kung meron man. So sa akin po manggagaling ang impormasyon na iyan (There is none yet. I will be the one to announce, if he already picks one. The information will come from me),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, when quizzed if Duterte has chosen the country’s next PNP chief.

Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said five PNP officials are on the shortlist of candidates as next top cop of the country.

Año refused to divulge the identities of the police officials, but stressed that seniority, merit, and service reputation are his grounds of coming up with the shortlist of candidates.

He submitted the list to Duterte on Nov. 2.

Roque said Duterte wants the next PNP chief to have the loyalty and competence to implement the country’s laws.

“Napakataas ng standards ng Presidente para po sa PNP chief. At nakikita niyo naman kung paano ang naging serbisyo ni PNP chief Eleazar. Kinakailangan po merong katapatan, meron siyang napatunayang kakayahang ipatupad ang mga batas ng ating bansa lalung-lalo na sa taon na tayo po’y magkakaroon ng eleksyon (The President’s standards for a PNP chief is very high. It reflects on the service rendered by PNP chief Eleazar. [The next PNP chief] should be loyal and competent to implement laws, especially since we are about to conduct elections next year),” he said.

Eleazar is set to bow out of the service when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on Nov. 13.

Before being named as the country’s 26th PNP chief, he held all three top posts of the police force -- deputy chief for administration, deputy chief for operations, and chief of the directorial staff.

Eleazar also served as director of the National Capital Region Office.

If the rule of succession is followed, possible contenders for PNP chief include Lt. Gen. Joselito Vera Cruz, deputy chief for administration; Lt. Gen. Ephraim Dickson, deputy chief for operations; and Lt. Gen. Dionardo Carlos, chief of the directorial staff. (PNA)